Chapter 4 Notes

Chapter notes:

She heard him walking away and thought maybe he was going to leave her alone for a while, till his voice lilted back across the campsite, “Come on out or I’m coming in after you.” She could hear him laughing in the distance. At least his irritatingly good mood had returned, she thought.Katsuro wakes up happiest when he has a mission. He’s eager to head out, just like Naruto.

Lifting fingers into the air dejectedly, she examined her peeling, filthy fingernails. Sakura had prided herself on keeping her hands clean, that it was the mark of a good medic. Now she simply didn’t care. None of that mattered anymore.Sakura has the hardest time in the mornings and evenings. She inevitably comes apart in her downtime, letting her fears take over, but has to put herself back together to make it through the day. Doing it this way compartmentalizes her fears, which I think would be key to her survival: If she has a task she can focus on it, but when she has free time, the fears are overwhelming.

Slips of gold glimmered through the mottled green landscape. The old trade road wound teasingly in and out of view, curling around trees and bobbing over hillocks. Sakura’s heart lifted. This was the thread that connected her to home. — When Sakura gets a glimpse of the road the first time, I’ve described it in terms of the silk ribbon or vein of gold, bright and shooting promisingly through the trees. The description is in keeping with the happy feeling it gives her upon seeing it. This will contrast sharply with her last glimpse of it at the end of this chapter.

• “She hesitated at the crest of the hill. Beyond her, the road twisted relentlessly through the woods, flat and empty. It slipped around a tree and disappeared.” — The situation has changed. Sakura has to make a choice and not travel down her escape route. So the same place can look very different in a different light. It’s now the escape route she can’t take. Thus the road is now a ribbon that’s slipping away from her. I wanted to convey the loneliness, emptiness she felt at that moment, knowing it was rolling away without her.

On an empty road, filthy and worn, with no weapon and no hope of rescue, Sakura finally felt like a real kunoichi. She understood the feeling that she could never quite grasp. It wasn’t in a hair cut or an attitude, it was in the sacrifice. That was the silent mark of a ninja. — A lot of fics focus on the first kill, or some other really harrowing experience, as what pushes the characters to shed their genin-level idealistic views. But to me, Sakura is different from Naruto and Sasuke in that she’s not overburdened with power. So Sakura’s character evolution should not come from fighting/death. Her power is healing, giving her chakra selflessly to others. So it’s only when she helps innocent people with no gain for herself that she levels up her thinking. In this moment, Sakura sheds her old ideas about herself as a shinobi, and even about her team and village. She’s agreeing to be cut off from her former life to save these people. And thus, she can evolve into a more powerful version of herself. If, of course, she survives.

Spoiler Notes:

“Everyone’s gone already. They’re moving this camp. It happens from time to time. In a few hours this will all be underwater,” he said, carelessly flicking his hand at their surroundings. — The information about hiding their camp under a flash flood will be important to Sakura later on, as she can take this info back to Konoha. Superfluous details now will help Sakura later on when she has to explain what happened, and defend herself when they think her survival might mean she’s a traitor/spy.

He was pleased she was taking this seriously. He wasn’t kidding, either. These men could be brutal, and he didn’t want to open either of them up to a “mistake” that could end their lives. He wouldn’t put anything past them. A twig snapped up ahead of them. They turned their heads simultaneously toward the sound.Working together a little bit when they are near the ravine and Katsuro tells her to be alert foreshadows their teamwork to come. It also introduces Katsuro to the pleasant feeling of having a teammate. It’s small, but it the lays the groundwork for what’s to come.

Dusting off the bits of dirt, Sakura returned to her surveillance of Katsuro, only to find him looking from her to Fumio and frowning deeply. But the man in front of him required his attention, so Katsuro shook off his distraction.” – Some obvious foreshadowing here, of both the man’s intentions and Katsuro’s awareness of it. There are crack in the group, and the thugs have something against Sakura. This friction will play out in chapters to come.

Slips of gold glimmered through the mottled green landscape. The old trade road wound teasingly in and out of view, curling around trees and bobbing over hillocks. Sakura’s heart lifted. This was the thread that connected her to home. — The idea of the road as a ribbon of gold, connecting everything together, will be revisited much later on. Definitely an overarching theme.

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